This week’s Rochester wedding was something quite special. Pina and Paul were childhood friends, both married other people, had children, got divorced and then reconnected! One would say that they took the long route to the alter and that everything happens for a reason. My personal favorite part of the day was just after the wedding ceremony at the Interfaith Chapel on the University of Rochester campus. Paul’s parents told me that this was the happiest day of their life! You see, both sets of parents have been great friends for over 50 years! So there was a lot of love floating around both sides of the aisle on Saturday.
We began the day at the couple’s home, full of moving boxes and laughter, with Pina’s sons looking dapper in their suits and the ladies putting on their finishing touches. In short order, we were all ready to roll and see Pina walk down the aisle.
I met Paul and Mike at the chapel for the first time and within minutes I could see the draw…. Paul has an infectious humor and has everyone laughing constantly. He also struck me quickly as someone who is real and open. I liked him right away. As friends and family arrived and found their seats, I bounced between the two, capturing some family portraits and watching the loving connection between Pina’s two sons and her soon to be new husband.
With both families growing up together and many childhood friends in attendance, there was no Brides side or Groom’s side at this wedding. Everyone knew each other already, which gave a unique feel to the entire day. A special note for me was seeing the wedding officiant was none other than Paul Pakusch! I’ve known Paul for about a decade, as I photographed his eldest daughter’s wedding and we have worked together a few times.
The happy couple both looked stunning (I LOVE Pina’s wedding gown!) and have a calm and ease and grace when together. After a short stroll around the University of Rochester campus, tying in vain to get just one romantic or serious image from these two, we headed to the wedding reception.
The party was held at Pomodoro Restaurant in Pittsford, with wine and bubbles flowing freely and even more laughter from every corner of the room. A personal favorite touch was the childhood photo of Pina and Paul on the gift table, which I naturally had to recreate during their wedding dance.
Pina’s eldest son gave the wedding toast of the century and almost made me cry! It was filled of such beautiful sentiment and insight from such a young man about his admiration of Paul and his appreciation for what he brings to the family. So touching.
Pina, Paul, the entire family and friends were so wonderful and inviting. I felt like part of the family from the start. What an honor and a treat to be the one to document these childhood friends and their wedding in Rochester.
I found out at the end of the evening that Paul wrote a book on communication and emotional intelligence that I think every one of my readers would highly enjoy! Pick up a copy of his book on Amazon right here. If you had a chance to look closely at Pina’s bracelet, you will see a compass charm on it which is a reference to Paul’s book. That level of love and support is a wonderful example for the rest of us. Thank you again for inviting me into your lives and congratulations again on your beautiful marriage!